Graduate Handbook & FAQs

The Animal Sciences Program's Graduate Handbook covers all of the information students need to know regarding our policies, regulations, and program requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between units and credits?

There is a distinction between a courses credit hour value and its unit value. Graduate students need to be registered for 24 units of coursework each semester to maintain their full-time status. For complete details about credits vs. units, please visit the Graduate School's Registration Policies.

Are students required to present their research?

Each year around the end of May or beginning of June, the department holds our Annual Symposium (also known as The One-Day Wonder) where graduate students in the department show off their research findings to the faculty, campus, and local research institutions. All graduate students are required to give an oral presentation or a poster of their research. This event gives students the opportunity to practice their presentation skills in front of a knowledgeable audience. Additionally, all students are encouraged to present their research at outside events such as conferences or symposiums. To this end, monetary prizes are awarded to the top presentations at the Symposium for travel purposes.

What can students take to satisfy the Research Ethics requirement?

Students are required to complete a Research Ethics course during their program. The University offers several courses which satisfy this requirement (for example, BIOL600 and BISI688B) or students can complete the online course through http://www.umresearch.umd.edu/RCR/

How are students evaluated?

Each year the Graduate Education Committee (GEC) conducts the Graduate Student Annual Review. This takes place on the Reading Day before finals begins each spring semester.  Students are required to submit their CV’s, progress reports, and an advisor evaluation to be reviewed by the GEC. On Reading Day students will meet with the GEC for an in-person interview. The purpose of the review is to determine if the student is making satisfactory progress toward the desired degree, if a change in graduate student status is warranted, and if requirements as presented to the student in the Handbook are being met (participation in seminars, filing of a Plan of Study and Research Proposal, etc.). Information gathered at this review is used in determining if each student should be reappointed to an assistantship, and also for selection of the Outstanding MS and PhD Students of the Year. 

Are students required to participate in the ANSC department seminars?

Yes, students are expected to attend the weekly seminar in ANSC or another related graduate program during the academic year, regardless of whether they are signed up for credit. MS students are required to take either ANSC 698D Developing Presentation Skills (one credit) early in their studies or one credit of ANSC 698C Recent Advances in Animal and Avian Sciences at some point after the first year of study and PhD students are required to take a total of two credits of seminar, one of which must be ANSC 698C.

What responsibilities does my assistantship cover?

Student responsibilities will require an average weekly time commitment of 20 hours a week, for full time students, working for the department by teaching and/or working for their advisor. This is in addition to their course work and their own research project. Students will be required to report during the entire period of their appointment, and work according to the University Holiday Schedule, not the academic calendar.

What role does my advisor play in my graduate program?

At the time of admission, students are matched with a faculty member who is best suited to the background and research goals of the selected applicants. Together the student and advisor assemble a Graduate Advisory Committee and develop a Research Proposal and Plan of Study. The student and the advisor along with the Graduate Advisory Committee should continually monitor the progress and work diligently to achieve the goal side by side with fulfillment of all other requirements for completion of the degree. It is at this point that the advisor assumes the responsibility of a mentor. It is a very individualistic relationship and may be summarized in a variation of the words of Anne Todd as thus:

The mentor is a critical friend. He/she supports, enables and facilitates the personal and professional advancement of the student/trainee. The two act as a link, or interface with other professionals engaged in the fulfillment of the goals of the student/trainee. The mentor sets high professional standards and ethics as a ‘role model’ for the aspiring student/trainee.

Indeed, a graduate student may have more than one mentor, e.g., members of his/her Graduate Advisory Committee or even other professors in the Program. Ideally, it should build into a life-long relationship between the two. Today’s protégé will be tomorrow’s mentor!

For complete information on ANSC policies and procedures, review the ANSC Graduate Handbook.